Tag Archives: taxes

Munson on AB 398

Republicans ended up getting the raw deal in July’s controversial #ab398. Eight Republicans attained exceptional outcry and grief due to what they did with their votes that enabled its passage. Republicans across the board from the ones who voted for Obama to the Republicans who are part of the Tea Party movement are disgusted at the support our legislators gave to this bill.

Minority Leader Chad Mayes and Assemblyman Marc Steinorth may state that if we did not pass this bill legislators such as Senator Connie Leyva and Assemblywoman Eloise Reyes will be ready to pass an even crippling bill at first chance. Even if AB 398 is the best thing since sliced bread, this bill is not static. Democrats can still undo this agreement.

Not all of us are wealthy like Assemblyman Steinorth. We can’t afford to absorb these new economic regulations that are driving people to Texas.

Lockbox The Transportation Funds

Now is the time to restrict our state legislature when it comes to transportation funds. The Objective of this ballot measure is to provide the following:

Fixed cap where transportation funds must be offered to:

  • 75% roads and freeways
  • 20% public transportation
  • 5% other

Cap can only be modified with 2/3rds vote in both houses and be approved by voters in the following state general election in even year.

Funds can only be taken out for non-transportation usage if state is in a budget crisis where state is in a budget deficit of sizable proportion with 2/3rds vote.

Toll roads must be approved by the voters in impacted communities.

Killing Off the Private Option is the Fatal Flaw for SB 562

I understand that our progressive friends want single payer health care where government manages it all. However single payer is not all that glamorous when you read the ugly stories in Canada and the United Kingdom about their system. It was predicted that the Affordable Care Act was basically training wheels for Single Payer because right now the system is ready to derail big time in the next few years. Certain states are going to have NO insurance company as part of their health care exchanges because insurance companies are unwilling to partake in the government system no matter if it is federal or state managed.

Enter SB 562, California’s effort in having a single payer health care system. Co-written by Senators Lara and Atkins it is called the “Healthy California Act”, where the authors strive to improve access to health care. I agree that something should be done when insurance premiums are approaching almost 10 thousand dollars for a family. However, the bad point of the bill is no private option.

The health plans that people rely on will be shuddered thanks to this legislation. Many people in California love Kaiser Pernamente due to it being the Mercedes Benz of health care plans. With this new law, we will be forced into the government system or if you are wealthy you would have to go out of state to pay cash for the health care you need.

The big fear of SB 562 is the reimbursement rates, I would expect to see a health care provider shortage when doctors decide to either retire or move out of California. Medi-Cal currently has a provider shortage due to reimbursement rates. The Democratic Party would likely need to have programs where if one gets educated at the UC medical school they would be required to take care of patients in the state program for a decade in exchange for a modest salary.

I think the authors of SB 562 need to go back to the drawing board and come up with an idea like Medicare Part C and D and the Australian health care system. Government cannot do it all despite many believing it can. Public option can coexist with a Private option.

Fiscally, even if we are paying a 9% tax to help fund the program, will it be sustainable? States such as Vermont crashed and burn when they tried single payer. The California Public Employee Retirement System also has funding shortfalls as well. I am skeptical of California politicians managing money if I trusted Bernie Madoff to manage my portfolio.

Also, the new California tax is regressive when it comes to low income workers. One would be paying the unsubsidized price before ACA subsidies which would take away money that one may need for their car payment or groceries. Democrats are criticizing Trump for doing similar things.

Due to the Super Majority this bill is likely to pass no matter if you like it or not to infer from a quote from Gavin Newsom when he was speaking how equal marriage rights was inevitable. However, this bill needs to go back to the drawing board. We need to come up with solutions to improve the supply of medical providers, how would the authors deal with the issue of big health care networks controlled by the private sector deciding to shut down where private hospitals such as Kaiser Pernamente will fold in California, how would the authors make the payroll tax equitable to low income workers.

The Trouble With Gasoline Taxes

The dream of our regional governments.
The future when auto ownership becomes cost prohibitive.

If we are unable to stop the California Super Majority to be formed, we do face an awful problem that will cripple many working families in our state with higher gasoline taxes. People need to get to work without the consequence of people having to shell out even more money to commute to work. If the Democratic Party in California succeeds after Election Day these gasoline taxes will be happening in the session after November.

I loathe the smug arrogance of billionaire activist Tom Steyner with his Next Gen Climate group who feels dirty that he made his money from the energy industry and now we must pay the price of his wealth. Instead of the saying “Let them eat cake”, it is now “Let them eat taxes”. For example, Lake Arrowhead to Upland is around 46 miles. A Ford Explorer 2011 has the mileage of 23 miles per gallon on the highway. If the proposed gas tax increase is 50 cents per gallon the commuter will expect to pay an extra 2 dollars a day to commute just to earn their daily living. This equals to 520 dollars a year that will be taken from that working family.

I thought Democrats are for the working class, but it seems that is just a marketing fallacy. In my State Senate race in 2014, I did state that my opponent is going to stab working people in the back and it seems these predictions are coming true. People choose to drive because they do not want to spend twice the time compared to driving commuting via public transportation. For some commuters, public transportation does work for example the commuter in Claremont using the Gold Line in Azusa to commute to Pasadena. However, for the commuter in Ontario going to work in Corona or the commuter in the mountains to Upland it will just be a regressive tax.

I know that regional government agencies want us to worship the bicycle and have us commute like we are living in Ho Chi Min City, but our streets and roads are not built for that. People are married to their cars and do not have time to visit the grocery store daily to pick up goods without a car that leads to being carry by hand or in their backpacks. Sustainability is just more government control over the individual and is more about lining the pockets of the government treasury to help backfill the public pensions that are eating the budgets of government agencies alive.

People will use the bus or rail when its personally convenient, not because government kneecaps consumers with higher gasoline taxes, vehicle registration fees or forces five story apartment complexes near bus and rail stations.

I understand people want clean air, my sister has asthma and I understand that. However, people need to work too. If people are not working, then how are we going to pay for those strawberry scented government checks?  If we want more people to be working locally then lets remove many of the obstacles and barriers for those entrepreneurs that create those opportunities if we want the clean air.

California Thirst For Taxation

As a working class Republican I am told that Democrats are supposed to represent people like me. However it seems they are making it harder for people like me to live our day to day lives. For many of us to survive we have to drive to work where employers ask their workers to use their car to do job obligations. If you use 20 gallons of gasoline a week that is 125 dollars a year redirected from life’s necessities such as buying groceries or paying utilities.
I know we want better roads, but when our state has one of the highest gasoline taxes we should ask ourselves how we are spending the money before consider raising gas taxes or vehicle registration fees which also will rise. Are revenues being consumed by top heavy administration which prevents us from repairing our bridges and roads? Questions need to be investigated and answered before taxes rise.

Munson on Proposition 29

As part of our election education series for the California June 5th election I am going to help filter thru the arguments from both sides on this new tax measure.

First, Proposition 29 is going to increase cigarette taxes from 87 cents to 1.87 a pack. The additional tax revenue will be used to fund cancer research, smoking reduction programs, and tobacco law enforcement.

This tax revenue will be used to establish a commission to help in cancer treatment programs and other tobacco related disorders. The commission will be a nine member body to help manage the funds from the organization.

The proponents of Proposition 29 have been out funded by the opponents of this tax increase namely the tobacco industry which has spent almost 40 million compared to the supporters 6 million dollars. Opponents are mailing flyers to explain that we do not need to be spending or taxing our way to salvation. Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds may express that this new commission is redundant since we have the National Institutes of Health, but other states even Texas has taxed themselves to fund scientific studies in 2006.

Out of the flyer 1 of the 3 arguments from the opponents does have pull. Proposition 29 can not be changed for 15 years and can not be modified by the Governor, State Legislature or the State Auditor can change the initiative to correct problems of waste, fraud or abuse in section 6. I think if Proposition 29 dies, they should go back to the drawing board and state that a 3/5ths vote in the state legislature would be required to modify the ballot measure where the changes would be temporary until voters approve any changes in the next even election year.

Allowing tax dollars to be spent out of California is one politically sensitive charge that has pull with the voters in a crippling budget crisis we have this year with 16 billion dollars in debt. Even though the commission is mostly dominated by California interests where we will have scholars from our UC system leading the charge in these studies, the opponents of Proposition 29 are obfuscating the issue because they are trying to protect their revenue stream and not your health. UC scholars and cancer institutions such as City of Hope have provided many innovations in the study of cancer through the years and these funds will help our state save lives and create jobs.

Personally, I like the idea of Proposition 29. However when the sin taxes make smoking cigarettes unpopular to where the First 5 commission and the Cancer commission has no funds due to no one smoking, then our legislators and political consultants will say lets sin tax the fast food, the sugary drinks and the bakery delights to make sure we have no more obese people. We need to factor in simple economic principles before we implement any new taxes or perhaps have the tax increase 50 cents instead of a dollar.

Continue reading Munson on Proposition 29

Republicans Making it Harder to File Taxes and Survive Domestic Violence.

Ever since Steve Westly decided to make filing state income taxes easier, the leading tax and finance software provider Intuit decided to wage war against the state for helping to reduce their revenue from people paying over $31 to file their state income tax.

If you qualify for programs such as the Free File Alliance, Intuit will give the federal taxes for free, but they will sock it to you with the state income tax preparation fee. As what they say in high school economics class, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

The Republicans during the end of the legislative session made it their priority to make it harder for low and moderate income earners to file their income taxes. This decision will not help the Republican Party in reaching out to new voters for the next election.

Due to the 2/3rds requirement that holds fiscal bills hostage unless Republicans support the legislation, they held many good pieces of legislation hostage such as funding domestic violence shelters which previously got unanimous approval until Intuit got their corporate welfare. If Senator Strickland wants to support Intuit, but be taxpayer friendly make the state tax forms simple and easier to understand so you do not need Ready Return or even Turbo Tax.

The 2/3rds requirement helps protect taxpayers of our state, but it is abhorrent that it is used as a bargaining tool for non-related legislation. It is irresponsible for Republicans to abstain from providing money for counties to prepare for the N1H1 outbreak, keeping domestic violence shelters open and to reduce the pain of the state raiding local funds. Republicans are holding these objectives hostage because Intuit wants to make it harder for people to file their state taxes. If you are wondering why the local domestic violence shelter shut down recently, blame Intuit.

If Republicans want to win the State Controller’s office in 2010, they need to be friendly to the needs of the average Californian and not sucking the teats off Intuit.